Old News Archive
November 2005

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Vangisa: An Early Buddhist Poet, by John D. Ireland (Buddhist Publication Society Wheel Publication No. 417/418; 1997; 96k/29pp.)[PDF icon]

The final section of the Theragatha of the Khuddaka Nikaya contains fifteen poems composed by Venerable Vangisa, the monk whom the Buddha had designated as his foremost disciple in the composition of spontaneous verse. The subject of these poems ranges widely: from expressions of Vangisa's own inner struggles and setbacks in Dhamma practice, to verses in praise of the Buddha and some of his great discciples, to verses in celebration of Vangisa's final attainment of arahantship. This book contains a carefully annotated translation of these poems (accompanied by the Pali text), along with a helpful Introduction that places them in their historical and literary context.

Note: The suttas from this book (Thag 21, Vv 1.16, and Vv 3.7) have also been indexed and added to the website's sutta archive.

  • MN 101: Devadaha Sutta — To Devadaha {M ii 214} [Thanissaro]. The Buddha refutes a Jain theory of kamma, which claims that one's present experience is determined solely by one's actions in past lives, and that the only way to undo the effects of past unskillful actions is to "burn them away" through severe practices of austerity. The Buddha here outlines one of his most important teachings on kamma: that it is both the results of past deeds and present actions that shape one's experience of the present. It is precisely this interaction of present and past that opens up the very possibility of Awakening.
  • SN 36.21: Sivaka Sutta — To Sivaka {S iv 230; CDB ii 1278} [Thanissaro]. (New translation.) The Buddha explains that present experience cannot be described solely in terms of the results of past actions (kamma).
  • DN 31: Sigalovada Sutta — The Buddha's Advice to Sigalaka {D iii 180} [Kelly/Sawyer/Yareham]. The householder's code of discipline, as described by the Buddha to the layman Sigala. This sutta offers valuable practical advice for householders on how to conduct themselves skillfully in their relationships with parents, spouses, children, pupils, teachers, employers, employees, friends, and spiritual mentors so as to bring happiness to all concerned.
The Buddha's Encounters with Mara the Tempter: Their Representation in Literature and Art, by Ananda W.P. Guruge (Buddhist Publication Society Wheel Publication No. 419; 1997; 68k/19pp.) [PDF icon]
An exploration of various canonical and extra-canonical accounts of the Buddha's encounters with Mara, the symbolic embodiment of desire and death, in his role as the Tempter. By referring to later Sanskrit literature and Buddhist art, the author traces the development of the Mara legend through history, and paints a more complete portrait of Mara than can be discerned from his fleeting appearances in the Suttas alone.